Stretch marks are parallel, spindle bands of thinned, wrinkled skin, which in the first phase are supercilious and edema-like, and regress over time. They arise as a consequence of the impairment of fibroblast function to the collagen and elastin synthesis; pathological, weakened fibers exhibit considerable brittleness and structural instability, resulting in remodeling of the dermis. Stretch marks in the first phase, called inflammatory, are in the form of live, red bands and at this stage you can easily eliminate them. In the second atrophic phase, there is a fading and flattening of skin lesions. However, this apparent disappearance of stretch marks means the consolidation of changes and difficulties in their complete eradication at this stage.
What are the causes of stretch marks? Generally speaking, it is due to the sudden expansion and contraction of the skin. The most obvious cause of stretch marks is pregnancy. Collagen fibers are very elastic, however, significant stretching of the skin on the stomach leads to the break-up of these fibers and the formation of unsightly changes on the skin. Stretch marks on the abdomen usually appear in the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy. Another factor favoring the emergence of stretch marks is childbirth, accompanied by sudden shrinking of the skin on the stomach. In addition, pregnancy is characterized by hormonal changes that foster skin hydration, and this makes it more susceptible to stretch marks. The causes of stretch marks on the breast during pregnancy and breastfeeding are similar. Some pregnant women do not have to worry about stretch marks after pregnancy or it occur that the resulting stretch marks are hardly visible. What does it depend on? The appearance of stretch marks is affected by individual predispositions and skin susceptibility to stretching, as well as skin care, not only during pregnancy, but also before it. Stretch marks after childbirth can arise not only on the stomach or on the breast, but also on the hips or lower back.
Stretch marks on the skin are accompanied by sudden changes in weight. Quick weight gain followed by slimming generates loss of skin elasticity and weakness. The problem of stretch marks also applies to men who rapidly expand muscle mass, and the problem intensifies when intensive training is accompanied by the use of steroids. Stretch marks are also associated with chronic use of steroids for therapeutic purposes, as well as diseases associated with excessive secretion of corticosteroids i.e. Cushing’s syndrome or Cushing’s disease. This results in very deep and extensive stretch marks being formed, which are located not only on the abdomen, but also on the arms, thighs and buttocks or breasts.
In adolescents, it is possible for developmental stretch marks to be formed during their growth phase, which are the result of a rapid growth of the body.